certained, they may acquaint the Viceroy therewith, who on finding therein nothing prejudicial to the body of the Miners, the Public, or my Royal Treasury, shall grant him this and other privileges, exemptions, and aids, on condition that my Royal approbation is previously obtained to all such fa. vours, which cannot be granted by the ordinary authority of the Viceroy.

SECTION XVIII. Beds of ore (placeres) and all other depositories (criaderos) of gold and silver, on being discovered, shall be registered and denounced in the same manner as mines or veins, the same being understood of all species of metal.

SECTION XIX. Inasmuch as the waste ground (desechaderos), and earth heaps (terreros), of abandoned mines, are generally the support of the widows and orphans of the working miners, the old men and invalids, and all other distressed persons of that employment, and even of all the inhabitants of the district, when the mines are not in a course of working, I prohibit any individual from denouncing them, in order to appropriate them to himself, unless he at the same time denounces the mines to which they belong.

SECTION XX. The same prohibition is to be understood with regard to the dross, (escori. ales) rubbish, and refuse, (lameros), of those smelting houses and establishments of which nothing is left but the walls ; but I order that if they have an owner, notice shall be given to him, and a certain time allowed, in which if he does not avail himself of the vessels (resocas) and other remains, nor the community derive any benefit therefrom, they shall be granted to any person denouncing them.

SECTION XXI. Though in the regular veins, or in the banks, beds, or other mineral depositories, (rebosaderos) great natural masses of virgin gold and silver may be found, I declare that the owners of the mines are to acquire and possess them, on paying the just duties ; and I also declare that only ancient deposits of money or jewels, of ingots, or grains, and any other fragments, smelted by man, and buried by thieves, or in any other manner from time immemorial, so that the owner thereof is unknown, shall be retained as treasure.

SECTION XXII. I likewise grant, that in the prescribed form, may be discovered, claimed, registered and denounced, not only mines of gold and silver but also those of precious stones, copper, lead, tin, quicksilver, antimony, zinc, bismuth, rock salt, or other fossils, whether perfect or mixed metals, bitumen or other production of the earth, the denouncers thereof receiving grants of the same, accord

ing to the circumstances : but I declare that although the free discovery and denouncement of the quicksilver mines is permitted, it must be on the express condition of giving an account of them to the Viceroy, and to the subdelegate of the quicksilver mines of Mexico, in order that it may be considered and determined whether the said mine or mines shall be worked at the expence, and for the advantage, of that individual who discovered and denounced them, on his punctually delivering all the quicksilver extracted from them into the Royal storehouses, under the terms and prices stipulated; or whether it shall be done on the account of my Royal Treasury, indemnifying the party by some equitable award, having regard to the circumstances of the said discovery and denouncement, the whole of this important subject being regulated according to my sovereign intentions recently declared upon this subject.



SECTION 1. To all the subjects of my dominions, both in Spain and the Indies, of what. ever rank or condition they may be, I grant the mines of every species of metal under the conditions already stated, or that shall be expressed hereafter but I prohibit foreigners from acquiring or working mines, as their own property, in these, my dominions, unless they be naturalized or tolerated therein by my express Royal license.

SECTION II. I also prohibit regulars of religious orders, of both sexes, from denouncing, or in any manner acquiring, for themselves, their convents, or communities, any mines whatever ; it being understood that the working of the mines shall not devolve upon the secular ecclesiastics, as being contrary to the laws, to the orders of the Mexican Council, and to the sanctity and exercise of their profession; and therefore, in consequence of this prohibition, all such secular ecclesiastics shall be expressly obliged to sell or place in the hands of lay subjects, the mines or establishments for smelting ore, and reducing establishments, which have devolved on them by inheritance or other cause, the same being completed within the term of six months, or within such time as may be considered necessary to ensure a useful result, which is to be fixed by the Viceroy, with a previous intimation to the Royal Tribunal General of the mines, provided that if it is ascertained that, by artifice or fraud, the effects of this article are attempted to be eluded, to the prejudice of the working of such mines and establishments, in which the state is so much interested, they shall be denounced, and disposed of in the same manner as mines in general.

SECTION III. Neither shall mines be held by Governors, Intendants Mayors, Chief Judges, nor any other public officers whatever, of the Mine-towns and districts, nor their clerks; but I permit such persons to hold mines, in any territory out of their own jurisdiction.

SECTION IV. Neither shall Administrators, Stewards, Overseers, Keepers of Tallies,' Workers or Watchers of mines, nor in general any person in the service of Mine-owners, whether of superior or subordinate class, be permitted to register, denounce, or in any other manner, acquire mines within a space of a thousand yards round those of their masters, but I allow them to denounce any mine for their said master, even though not authorised by them to do so, provided the aforesaid masters make good the denouncement in the terms prescribed by Section VIII. of Chapter VI. of these Ordinances.


No one shall denounce a mine under any circumstances of concealment or fraud for another, nor even publicly, unless he has his power or lecter of attorney for that purpose, according to established usage.

SECTION VI. Neither shall any one denounce a mine for himself alone, if he has previously had partners in the transaction; and I ordain that the denouncer shall declare his partners in his written statement, under penalty, if he fail so to do, of losing his share thereof.




SECTION 1. EXPERIENCE having shown that the equality of the mine-measures established on the surface cannot be maintained under ground, where in fact the mines are chiefly valuable, it being certain that the greater or less inclination of the vein upon the plain of the horizon, must render the respective properties in the mines greater or smaller, so that the true and effective impar

• See this word explained in Chapter XII. Sect. VII. post.

tiality, which it has been desired to show towards all subjects, of equal merit, has not been preserved ; but on tho contrary, it has often happened that when a Miner after much expence and labour, begins at last to reach an abundant and rich ore, he is obliged to turn back, as having entered on the pro.. perty of another, which latter may have denounced the neighbouring mine, and thus stationed himself with more art than industry. This being one of the greatest and most frequent causes of litigation and dissension among the Miners, and considering that the limits establishsd in the mines of these kingdoms, and by which those of New Spain have been hitherto regulated, are very confined in proportion to the abundance, multitude and richness of the metallic veins which it has pleased the Creator of his great bounty to bestow on those regions, I order and command that in the mines where new veins, or veins unconnected with each other, shall be discovered, the following measures shall in future be observed.

SECTION II. On the course and direction of the vein whether of gold, silver, or other metal, I grant to every Miner, without any distinction in favour of the discoverer, whose reward has been already specified, two hundred yards (varas,) called measuring yards (varas de medir) taken on a level, as hitherto understood.

SECTION III. To make it what they call a square, that is, making a right angle with the preceding measure, supposing the descent or inclination of the vein i ho sufficiently shewn by the opening or shaft of ten.yards, the portion shall be measured by the following rule.


SECTION IV. Where the vein is perpendicular to the horizon (a case which seldom 00curs,) a hundred level yards shall be measured on either side of the vein or divided on both sides, as the Miner may prefer.

SECTION V. But where the vein is in an inclined direction, which is the most usual case, its greater or less degree of inclination shall be attended to in the following manner.

SECTION VI. If to one yard perpendicular the inclination be from three fingers (dedos) to two palms, (palmos), the same hundred yards shall be allowed for the square (as in the case of the vein being perpendicular.)

If to the said perpendicular yard there be an inclination of

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2 palms and 3 fingers, the square shall be of 1124 yards

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3 . 3 . . . . . 162
3 . 6 . . . . . 175
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• So that if to one perpendicular yard there correspond an inclination of four palms, which are equal to a yard, the miner shall be allowed two hundred yards on the square on the declivity of the vein, and so on with the rest.

SECTION VIII. And supposing that in the prescribed manner any Miner should reach the perpendicular depth of two hundred yards, without exceeding the limits of his portion, by which he may commonly have much exhausted the vein, and that those veins which have greater inclination than yard for yard, that is to say, of 45 degrees, are either barren or of little extent, it is my sovereign will that although the declivity may be greater than the above mentioned measures, no one shall exceed the square of two hundred level yards; so that the same shall be always the breadth of the said veins extended over the length of the other two huhdreds, as declared above.

SECTION IX. However, if any Mine-owner suspecting a vein to run in a contrary direction to his own, (which rarely happens), should choose to have some part of his square in a direction opposite to that of his principal vein, it may be granted to him, provided there shall be no injury or prejudice to a third person thereby.

SECTION X. With regard to the banks (placeres) beds, (rebosaderos), or any other accidental depositories of silver or gold, I ordain that the portions and measures shall be regulated by the respective Territorial Deputations of Miners, attention being paid to the extent and richness of the place, and to the number of applicants for the same, with distinction and preference only to the discoverers ; but the said Deputations must render an exact account thereof to the Royal Tribunal General of Mexico, who will resolve on the measures which they, in their judgment, may consider the most efficacious, in order to . avoid all unfair dealing in these matters,

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